Ichiro Suzuki to coach Japanese High School Team

According to the Asahi (Sunrise) Shimbun, former MLB star Ichiro Suzuki will coach a Japanese high school team. At the end of this year, Ichiro will be at the helm of a team that has won the national championship at least once.

It has always been a dream of the Japanese star to manage a high school team. He is very interested in amateur baseball. Ichiro, 47, has expressed an interest in coaching amateur players, including those in high school, since he retired from the Seattle Mariners in March 2019. He is now a special assistant to the team chairman as well as an instructor for the Mariners.

Classic Mariners: Ichiro returns, last Félix opening day start in 2018
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Ichiro explained his interest in amateur baseball as follows: “High school baseball is ‘baseball,’ but Major League Baseball is a ‘contest,’” he said. “It’s mainly about how far you can hit the ball and that’s hardly baseball. High school baseball is very exciting. I’m really interested in amateur baseball.”

Japanese rules require high school baseball managers to leave their professional teams, even when it is located outside Japan. But since Ichiro is still a special advisor for the Seattle Mariners, this could be a problem. But officials of the student and professional baseball associations agreed to make an exception for him, considering his record accomplishments in the baseball world, both in Japan and the United States.

In December of last year, Ichiro attended a series of lectures to apply for certification to coach amateur players in Japan and he qualified in February. That enabled him to coach amateurs when he is not working for the Mariners, a condition set by the officials.

One can say that the high school kids that will be trained and coached by Ichiro, are very privileged. How big is the chance that you will be coached by someone who has a combined 4,367 hits in his professional career (both in Japan and the US)?

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